Two pairs of students with and without disabilities will join four Special Olympics Athlete Leaders to represent Special Olympics Northern California during Capitol Hill Day on February 9-10.
Capitol Hill Day (#SOHillDay) is a national advocacy day for Special Olympics programs to meet with their respective state members of congress. Students and athletes share their stories and ask for continued funding of Special Olympics programs on a federal level. Meetings this year will once again take place virtually.
Students Ari and Tristan from Santa Rosa and Sharon and Cristhian from Pittsburg will join Athlete Leaders Angela, Kim, Christy and Amanda to make up the Special Olympics Northern California (SONC) delegation.
Unified Athlete Cristhian is in the Adult Transition Program at Pittsburg Adult Education Center after finishing Pittsburg High School. Cristhian participates in Unified basketball, soccer and bowling with the Pitt Unify Club. He has also taken part in many of SONC’s virtual programs, including workouts with the San Francisco 49ers and fitness seasons. Cristhian joined Unified Partner Citlali to represent SONC at last year’s Hill Day, as well.
Unified Partner Sharon is a junior at Pittsburg High School. Sharon is the co-vice president of the Pitt Unify Club and participates in Unified bowling. She enjoys the Unified Champion Schools Program because “our activities are all about inclusion, working together, and being comfortable with each other.”
Unified Athlete Tristan is a senior at Montgomery High School. He enjoys participating in Unified soccer, basketball and track and field. Tristan believes that inclusion is important because “we are all in it together. Throughout elementary, middle school, and high school, I have participated in Special Olympics events and it is great because everyone feels they are important.”
Unified Partner Ari is a junior at Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa. She participates in Unified soccer and basketball and is also on the SONC Youth Activation Committee. Ari enjoys the Unified Champion Schools program because “it allows students with and without intellectual disabilities to share a common hobby and allow for quick friendships. It also is a fun way to reduce the stereotypes and stigmas of students with disabilities.”
SONC Athlete Kim of Cupertino has participated in basketball, bocce, bowling, floor hockey and track and field with Special Olympics for 15 years. She is an Athlete Leader for SONC and has delivered speeches to schools and administrators, hosted special events as the emcee, and participated in numerous marketing and fundraising campaigns. Kim is on a self-advocacy committee with the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry and works at an after-school program. She competed in a Toastmasters contest in 2020.
SONC Athlete Christy of Walnut Creek has been involved with Special Olympics for 27 years and has competed in track and field, golf, bowling and bocce. Along with excelling in competition, Christy is a Special Olympics Athlete Leader, Health Messenger, and on the SONC Law Enforcement Torch Run Executive Committee. Christy is employed at the SONC headquarters office in Pleasant Hill. In her role as clerical assistant, she works at the front desk and answers phone calls, coordinates mailings and assists with a variety of other functions. Christy is regularly the largest individual fundraiser for the Polar Plunge and is passionate about recruiting participants and donations for the event.
SONC Athlete Angela of Pittsburg has been involved with Special Olympics for more than 27 years and has competed in bocce, track and field, golf, swimming and bowling. She is also a bowling coach. Angela is an Athlete Leader and Health Messenger and also a member of the SONC Athlete Leadership Council.
SONC Athlete Amanda of Fairfield participates in bocce and bowling with Special Olympics. She is an Athlete Leader for SONC and has delivered speeches, participated in numerous marketing and fundraising campaigns, and was a part of SONC’s delegation at Hill Day last year. Amanda is also a Health Messenger and the chair of the SONC Athlete Leadership Council. She is an internationally-published poet and a passionate advocate for people with intellectual disabilities through multiple media outlets, including NPR, Autism Stories, and the 1-in-54 Podcast. In addition, Amanda has also been featured as a guest in other Special Olympics state programs, such as Maryland, where she was presented with a gold medallion for poetic work; and Washington D.C., where she recited an original poem “Servant’s Heart” for Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shiver. She is also the host of a virtual Poetry Night.
Additional members of our delegation include Pittsburg High School’s Ms. Maureen Mattson and SONC staff. Follow SONC on social media @SONorCal on Facebook and Twitter and @SpecialOlympicsNCA on Instagram to the latest updates from Capitol Hill Day.